A couple of years ago, SNL used to have a running sketch spoofing child actress Dakota Fanning. The premise of the skit was essentially that the precocious tween star was a pretentious and annoying brat, ignorant of the saccharine pop culture to which every other American girl her age was well familiar. Instead, the (then) 12 year old highbrow Dakota was more at home discussing Japanese fiction, ethnic violence in Central Africa, Icelandic cinema and so forth.
It is irritating when any Hollywood star expounds on their political consciousness, but when a 12 year old does it, it is all the more absurd-- hence the humour in the skit.
The Lady Gaga phenomenon has produced several unfortunate pop cultural by-products, including the inevitable parade of copycats. LGG has become synonymous with extremely flamboyant, arty and ultimately unpredictably wacky costumes that always manage to grab front-page attention. Not surprisingly, the other pop divas of the day have tried to get in on the action with absurd costumes of their own.
It's all getting a bit ridiculous. But it gets worse.
For the past several years, the 11 year old daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, Willow, has been prancing around in Lady Gaga-esque outfits.
Willow (who has several pop music singles to her name) is an obvious creation of over-ambitious parents who have attempted to ride the Gaga train by directing that she be mauled by Hollywood stylists, who have turned her into a circus clown.
But my issue runs deeper. The outfits she sports --as silly as they may be--involve a level of social, artistic and cultural expression that a 9, 10 or 11 year old girl is simply unable to express. As a result, her clothing is ever more absurd, and age inappropriate.
I don't find her any more charming (or " fierce" as she likes to be described) than I would, say, a 10 year old boy wearing combat boots, vintage Atari t-shirt, sleeve tattoo, and a handlebar moustache.
In the same way, songs like Nirvana's "Smell like Teen Spirit" or say, Alanis Morisette's "You Outta Know" would have made no sense, and would have been ultimately obnoxious, if they were the products of 11 year old children. But of course they were not, and could not have been. Those art-forms required a level of complexity and depth of experience that is simply (and thankfully) not known by children.
To me, Willow is just one level above the pre-school pageants you see on the TLC show "Toddlers and Tiaras".